Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SocioTab

Disability News/Events

Budget 2021: Are the needs of the disabled communities addressed?

Society is often assessed on the basis of how effectively it deals with the needs of its people particularly — the young, the old, and the disabled — and how efficiently it is accomplishing its requirements. According to the 2011 census, people with disabilities have increased 2 percent per year in the decade since 2001 in India and are estimated at about 26.8 million. This is 2.1 percent of the country’s total population. Also, 20.3 percent of the Indian population are wheelchair worthy, 18.8 percent cannot see, 18.9 percent cannot hear and 7.5 per cent have speech problems.

Around 15 percent of the world’s population experience some form of disability. According to the UN, out of the one billion population of persons with disabilities, 80 percent live in developing countries. The prevalence of disability is more in developing countries than in developed ones. Around a fifth of the estimated global total — 110 million to 190 million people — have some significant incapacities which hinder their normal way of life. One in every five women is likely to experience some form of disability in her life, while one in every ten children are known to have a form of disability.

 The questionnaire of the 2011 Census addressed about seven kinds of disabilities which were expanded to 21 when the Rights of People with Disabilities Act (RPWD) was introduced in 2016.

However, disability today is not considered a state of inability; but we need more measures and facilities to be put in place to give them equal opportunity. Their way of life is not just hindered by the disability but more from the inequality they face in society, the adversity of socio-economic inequalities — lower education, lack of employment, rising poverty and poorer health services, and invisible government attention. It needs government and policymakers intervention to introduce facilities and schemes to equip them with equal opportunities and equal representation which is currently lacking. 

The Budget, for instance, the allocation for the Scheme for Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA) has been reduced from Rs 315 crore in 2019–20 to Rs 252 crore in 2020–21. Moreover, the allocation for National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC) has been shortened from Rs 41 crore in 2019–20 to Rs 0.01 crore in 2020–21. Similarly, investment in research on disability-related technology and the National Institute of Mental Health and Rehabilitation in Financial Year 2020–21 is Nil (down from Rs 20 crore in 2019–20). The allocation for the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre is also zero (down from Rs 5 crore in 2019–20). Furthermore, the assistance for Disabled Persons for Purchase (ADIP) / Fitting of Aids and Appliances has stuck at Rs 230 crore for the entire population of disabled persons for many years now.

Squadron Leader Abhai Pratap Singh (Retd), Former International Wheelchair Cricketer and Founder of Wheelchair Cricket India Association and an active Disability Rights Activist says, Budget 2021 not only reduced allocation to the Department for Empowerment of PWDs but has no specific mention of any schemes for persons with disabilities. Where budget talks about Inclusive Development but doesn’t say a word about PWDs. The PWDs were looking up to the government for some relief, for new schemes but there is no mention of them.”

“The recent pandemic has adversely affected everybody but PWDs are the worst affected. People have lost jobs and are finding it hard to survive. Worst of all is that even after five years of enactment of the RPWD Act 2016, the budget document is still talking of the Persons with Disabilities Act,1995, which was repealed after the new Act. This clearly shows a lack of seriousness towards the development of marginalised sections of society. I hope the government and the policymakers understand the seriousness of the matter and we see schemes and policies in favour of the PWDs in coming years,” he adds. 

The development schemes and policies of our country has poor mention for the education, skill development, infrastructure and other needs for the overall development of the disabled community. For example, to empower them fully, the locus has to be at the nascent stage of their growth — which is Education. The community needs Inclusive schooling which promotes peer-to-peer learning, socialising, teacher-student interaction which not only allows teachers to understand and cater to the needs of the children with disabilities but will also raise awareness amongst fellow students. It is also a way to not only empower children with disabilities but also be an active part of society and participate in daily affairs. 

According to a report by Financial Express, unfortunately, only 9 percent of children with disabilities complete secondary education. Around 45 per cent of disabled people are illiterate and only 62.9 percent of disabled people between the ages of 3 and 35 have ever attended regular schools. According to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 that every government institution of higher education shall reserve not less than 5 per cent seats for students with benchmark disabilities. However, the number is much lower.

Education with skill development is another significant area for the holistic growth of a disabled individual. Education without skills will not fetch the disabled individual employment and hence will lead to dependency on others. Quality education, vocational training and workplace learning are an integral part of social cohesion and economic growth. The worth of vocational training and educational increases multifold when combined with entrepreneurship. Similarly, we can also not deny the fact that some individuals need targeted attention if we aspire to reap benefits from education, training programmes and job opportunities. The 

This brings us to the other major problem in the rehabilitation of the disabled community to the mainstream which is — infrastructure. There are almost 60 per cent of the schools that lack access-ramps; only 17 per cent have accessible toilets. Apart from that only 59 per cent of schools have access to electricity. The government needs to work on developing policies and infrastructure keeping in mind all the communities including the disabled community in mind to be at the forefront globally.

It is very important to understand that disabled individuals are capable of doing and achieving their dreams, we only need to empower them through fulfilling their needs which should be in cognisance to the larger society. It must be acknowledged that all the people of the community together make the society and hence no community should be put in a separate category.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Newsletter

You May Also Like

Fashion

Naomi Campbell, Holy Trinity, Claudia are models that come to our mind whenever the topic of 90’s supermodel comes. Of course, they are the...

Whats Trending

It is rightly said, not all superheroes wear a cape, and the superhero I am talking about is an inspiration to many in numerous...

Whats Trending

Evoking the memories of the movement of the 1970s where women formed unprecedented resistance against tyranny by “hugging trees to protect them from being...

Interactions

For the longest time in history, women are bounded with prejudice, and unfortunately, they still are. But there are women like Dr Richa who...

Font Resize